Rhame is a tiny community in southwestern North Dakota, and some interesting things have been going on with one of the city’s leaders.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has obtained a restraining order against Rhame City Commissioner Scott Luvaas after he was involved in an altercation with some of the company’s employees. According to the Bowman County Pioneer, “Luvaas drove up behind the three workers on BNSF property, got out of his vehicle and confronted them about parking a train in Rhame due to a noise issue. Luvaas wanted the crew to move the train, but they could not. The petition claimed Luvaas physically attempted to prevent the crew from leaving by holding onto the arm of one of the crew members.”
One of the BNSF employees confronted by Luvaas claims in an affidavit supporting the continuation of the restraining order that he smelled of alcohol. The local sheriff’s office was contacted about the confrontration and an investigation apparently found that Luvaas’ claims were unfounded.
But here’s the kicker: Luvaas is already on probation for apparently pulling a gun on another citizen.
“Luvaas was offered a plea deal earlier this year on felony disorderly conduct charges after he allegedly pulled a weapon on a city resident,” reports the Pioneer. “Those charges were pled down to a misdemeanor, for which Luvaas is still serving probation.”
From a previous report of the incident:
Bowman County Sheriff Deputy Jordan Fisher reported that, on or about July 19, he was on patrol near the Cenex fueling station in Rhame when a man flagged down his vehicle, according to court records. The man, a hay broker who was using the Rhame Elevator to weigh his truck, told Fisher that Luvaas created a disturbance involving the man’s wife, child and a hired hand, according to the records.
The man told Fisher that Luvaas had pulled a gun from the back seat of his vehicle and made a threat towards his employee when he confronted Luvaas about his erratic driving, the report said.
Luvaas, 43, explained to Fisher that trucks were traveling too fast in front of his Rhame residence and kicked up dust. He admitted to Fisher that he drove fast and kicked up rocks towards the man’s wife because he was upset and wanted to make a point, according to the report.
According to that article, Luvaas offered to resign before his day in court but Rhame’s mayor declined saying that if the people of the city wanted to remove Luvaas they could “follow procedure.” By which I suppose he means a recall.
“There’s no ordinance against anybody with a felony serving on the board,” Mayor Jeremiah Erickson said. “But, if the city has a problem with him serving, which is completely acceptable … they can follow procedures.”
But Luvaas wasn’t actually elected to his seat, it turns out. “Rhame city commissioners unanimously voted to approve Luvaas as a new commissioner Sept. 23 after he volunteered to fill a vacant seat,” the Pioneer reports. That would be September of last year, and about a month before the gun incident.
You gotta love small town politics.